Local Government Response to Public Record Requests: Ensuring Compliance With FOIA and State Public Record Laws

Navigating Impact of Evolving Technology on Public Record Requests, Balancing Transparency Against Privacy in Response Protocols

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to municipal attorneys on developing and administering effective policies and procedures regarding public record requests. The panel will discuss the latest developments in federal, state and local laws addressing public access to government records, the impact of new and evolving technology in this area, and best practices for balancing government transparency against privacy concerns when designing response protocols.


When municipalities receive requests from citizens or entities to review and copy public documents they created or have custody of, the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and comparable state laws mandate specific actions or responses. Failure to respond to requests for access to public records is unlawful.

Evolving technology and a corresponding surge in the volume of requests over the past decade has municipalities grappling with how to stay in compliance with the law in this area.

To minimize compliance missteps, local governments must develop and maintain policies and procedures outlining how to respond to public record requests for council meeting minutes, local ordinances, budgets, policies, audits and similar documents. The policies should clearly define what constitutes a “public record” subject to disclosure, the types of information exempt from disclosure, and a “reasonable amount of time” to respond to public record requests.

In creating and implementing such policies, municipal attorneys must balance the public interest in government transparency and openness against legitimate privacy and other confidentiality concerns.

Listen as our authoritative panel of municipal attorneys discusses their perspectives and recommended best practices for responding to public record requests without violating FOIA or related state laws.


  1. Impact of evolving technology on public records requests—email, social media, etc.
  2. Developing and maintaining policies and procedures—best practices
  3. Balancing transparency vs. privacy
  4. Dealing with requests involving government trade secrets or confidential information


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How has the growing use of technology impacted requests for access to public records?
  • What are the components of an effective municipal policy for responding to requests for public records?
  • How have municipalities balanced the public right to transparency against privacy concerns in implementing procedures for responding to public record requests?


Kevin D. Batt, Counsel
Anderson & Kreiger, Boston

Mr. Batt represents public clients in general municipal, land use, environmental, energy and construction matters. Recently, he has concentrated in helping towns and school districts site renewable energy projects to power municipal buildings and schools. Mr. Batt combines 15 years of experience in these areas with extensive in-house experience from years developing and implementing energy and environmental programs as conservation manager of the City of Austin, Tex.

Gary W. Schons, Of Counsel
Best Best & Krieger, San Diego

As head of the firm’s Government Policy & Public Integrity practice, Mr. Schons counsels public agencies, officials and private businesses who wish to promote public confidence in their decision-making processes by ensuring that official conduct is above reproach. Mr. Schons is a former deputy district attorney and senior advisor for law & policy in the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. In this role, he advised the District Attorney and her executive staff on legal, public integrity, legislative and policy issues and provided legal assistance to all 300 deputy district attorneys in the office.


CLE On-Demand - Streaming Video

Includes recorded streaming video of full program plus PDF handouts.

On-demand is the only recorded format recognized for CLE credits in DE, IN, KS, LA, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, VA, WI.

AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN*, KS, KY, LA, ME, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH**, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH*, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

*Only available for attorneys admitted for more than two years. For OH CLE credits, only programs recorded within the current calendar year are eligible - contact the CLE department for verification.

**NH attendees must self-determine if a program is eligible for credit and self-report their attendance.

CLE On-Demand Video $297.00

How does this work?

Recorded Event

Includes full event recording plus handouts.

Strafford is an approved provider and self-study CLE credit is available in most states.

AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, MT, ND, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording.

Additional copies of a recording can be purchased at a discount. Please call Strafford Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-926-7926 ext 10 or email customerservice@straffordpub.com to place your order.

Recorded Webinar Download $297.00

How does this work?

Recorded Audio Download (MP3) $297.00

How does this work?


Strafford webinars offer several options for participation: online viewing of speaker-controlled PowerPoint presentations with audio via computer speakers or via phone; or audio only via telephone (download speaker handouts prior to the program).  Please note that our webinars do not feature videos of the presenters.

Program Materials

Requires Adobe Reader 8 or later. Download Acrobat FREE.

Program Materials

Requires Adobe Reader 8 or later. Download Acrobat FREE.

or call 1-800-926-7926

CLE Credits

Many states grant CLE credits for on-demand streaming audio programs and recorded events. Our programs are pre-approved in many states. Refer to our state CLE map for state-specific information.

or call 1-800-926-7926

Customer Reviews

Cutting edge information from people who are in the field.

John McGowan

Donahue Tucker & Ciandella

Strafford made it easy to attend and were very communicative prior to and during the seminar.

Virginia Cassady

Shepard, Smith and Cassady

A thoroughly professionally structured and presented program.

Roy Gowey

City of Coeur d'Alene

Ms. Morrison provides trademark and brand protection services with significant industry intelligence in the food and beverage, restaurant, healthcare, entertainment, and technology industries. Her practice provides efficient counsel to support the domestic and foreign trademark maintenance, clearance, registration, strategic brand protection and enforcement, and licensing needs of her clients.

Sheila Fox Morrison

Davis Wright Tremaine

I like the efficiency and affordability of Strafford’s events.

Jean Bates

Professonal Risk Management Services

or call 1-800-926-7926

Our Guarantee

Strafford webinars are backed by our 100% Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee: if you are not satisfied with any of our products, simply let us know and get a full refund. For more information regarding complaints and refunds, please contact us at 1-800-926-7926 ext 10. Complaints regarding this program can be submitted via the course evaluation found in the “Thank you” e-mail at the end of the course.